Art in the City

Southhampton Bay, 9x12, oil on canvas by Jay Peterzell

Psychological oomph. The intensity of the surprise. The realization of impending disaster—like slipping in the shower. Or, it could be the “Aha! Moment”— a cerebral attack—a vision of your own future. That kind of intensity. That kind of oomph. Jay Peterzell captures it all in his most recent series now showing at the Foundry Gallery.

When I first profiled Jay six years ago, I wrote: “Jay Peterzell is searching, exploring, looking for that particular method of expression. He is on a trajectory to that place, that artist territory where he can feel comfortable—his own realm to unharness his passion.”

Jay hasn’t stopped exploring: He has taken on traditional landscape and portraits, and interprets the underlying emotions of people, places and things. His work ranges from traditional representation to abstracted realism to pure abstract. Each work seeks to define the power of color, form and movement. He is looking everywhere and loving the adventure.

Jay turned from a successful career as a researcher and writer, including Time Magazine, to follow the path to seeing—really seeing. It’s his examination of life—the animate and inanimate. “You stop, sit and draw…but Look. Watch. Let it come to you. If you watch a Venice bridge for a half hour, you discover the emotional aspect.”

Verklärte Nacht – 40 x 30 – oil and charcoal on canvas. Artist: Jay Peterzell

It’s through his infusion of that emotion into every subject that he connects. He does it while paying close attention to technique and style. The structures of composition contribute as much to the feeling, the emotion and the conversation as the nature of the subject. It’s power he is after: psychological oomph and insight. The intensity of the moment.

You can see Jay’s work this month at the Foundry Gallery (see At the Galleries) and

Jim Magner’s
Thoughts on Art     

No great work of art has ever been accomplished without passion. But all creativity needs passion to be art—even those works that will never be deemed great. It is the hunger that matters—the raging connection among all of your senses and those dual, but divergent properties of the intellectual world: the logic of reality and the illogic of wisdom.

Jay Peterzell (see Artist Profile) followed his passion from the publishing world to making art. He started by doing—by making art in every style, form and technique—an intense exercise in learning.

I have seen that passion in almost every artist I have known—certainly the 200+ that I have profiled for this column. Most have had degrees in art, and that in itself requires dedication and perseverance and facing the struggle to create. But with or without degrees, the struggle to create, to learn, to explore is always there. Occasionally when dark winds blow and the fire goes out, something sparks, maybe a person who electrifies, and the fire relights and the need to make art explodes. It’s also true in music, writing, theater and all the arts.

You can’t look for any sense in it. Most creative people can’t tell you why, or how, they create. It’s just there, rumbling around inside, looking for a way out.

ROSE GARDEN 1, Kitty Kaupp, Oil/Marble Dust on Canvas, 14 x 11

There are other passions of course, and many are very practical—the necessity to make life work—or teaching children about living. I don’t include the accumulation of money, credentials and awards. That’s obsession, not passion.

Passion is the illumination of the illogical—the preposterous contradictions of wisdom. It is the spiritual energy that clings to your soul, your humanness—and in the end it is the only reward worth dying with.

At the Galleries

Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Dec. 4, 2019-Feb.1,
Opening Recep. Mon., Dec. 9,
5:30 – 8:30

The Hill Center is closing out the year with seven concurrent solo shows by local artists, several of whom I have profiled in this column:

Kitty Kaupp: “Landscapes, Gardens, Flowers.” Oil paint and marble dust on canvas. Kitty brings a new geometric-based focus to mixed-media works such as “Rose Garden.”

Fierce Sonia: “Once Upon a Future So Bright.” Mixed media: acrylic and collage. These are about feelings, not literal narratives. They are complex, as emotions and opinions often are. Her work, “has a soundtrack, a rhythm, a pulse that will give you a magic carpet ride to a fairy tale that restates your own heartbeat.” That’s true.

Guy Terry Kuhn: “Circular View.” Pencil. Guy adds limited color highlights to his drawings characterized by geometric swirling and juxtaposition of globes—from tiny beads to pearls to moons. Many of his newer drawings “focus on radial expansion as found in starbursts and other natural occurring forms.”


Sofia Kifle: The Jazz Experience.” Acrylic on paper and canvas.  Sofia’s color-charged abstracts are inspired by America’s original art form: Jazz.

Gediyon Kifle: Gediyon has a passion for telling stories through award-winning photography. It has taken him to Africa, Asia, and Europe, and all over the U.S.

Maria-Victoria Checa: “Reflections in Color.” Oil and Acrylic. Maria-Victoria injects riotous color to “create movement and instability on my canvas.”

Linda Norton: “Global Dreams.” Watercolor and Soft Pastel. Linda totes her compact travel art supplies whenever she travels with her family, so she can make visual notes and layouts for paintings to be completed at home.

Kasse Andrews-Weller: His visual statements interpret the U.S. “The Band Aids cover, but do they heal?”

All of these artist’s works are for sale, and with the gift-giving holidays upon us, BUY ART, and have a happy holiday season.

Jay Peterzell
Foundry Gallery
2118 – 8th Street, N.W.
Dec. 4-29
Recep: Sat., Dec. 7, 5-8
Closing Rec. Dec., 29, 4-7

With, “Now What,” Jay Peterzell (See: Artist Profile) presents his latest series of large paintings of men at moments of imminent injury or desperation. Others depict men in intense contemplation—a sudden vision of his own future. All draw you in with intense color and composition.

A Capitol Hill artist and writer, Jim can be reached at